Francesco Molinari (Getty Images)
Francesco Molinari set an imposing clubhouse target in the Alstom Open de France courtesy of a sensational closing 64, which vaulted him into a share of the lead with home favourite Raphaël Jacquelin and Marcel Siem at Le Golf National.
Six adrift of overnight leaders Anders Hansen and David Howell on level par, Molinari barely appeared in contention this morning, particularly when he began his final round with a double bogey six.
However, the Italian, a recent winner in May’s Reale Seguros Open de España, responded in stunning fashion with nine birdies - including five in the space of six holes on the back nine, which he completed in 29 strokes.
His efforts were all the more impressive given the strong winds blowing across the course on another blustery day.
In reaching seven under, Molinari moved alongside Jacquelin, who made three birdies in succession from the fifth, and German Siem, who turned in 33 after picking up shots at the third, sixth and ninth.
England’s Ian Poulter was a shot further back, having made birdies at the first, fourth and eighth.
Hansen and Howell were enduring a difficult time of things, however. The former bogeyed the second, third and sixth to slip back to three under and Howell was only one shot better off after dropped shots at the first and third.